I am a master educator with extensive experience in curriculum development and content delivery from early childhood through university education. I have prepared and presented workshops at international conferences. I have expertise in transforming research findings into personal practices that enhance the quality of individual lives and support healthy families and communities.
I am a certified life coach and Restorative Justice facilitator. I am passionate about creating safe space for deep, meaningful, generative conversations that expand our thinking and our belief in what is possible.
I accompanied my mother through her dying process in 2012, staying at her hospital bedside for six days and nights without any social-emotional support, knowledge of her wishes, or authority to direct her care. While it was comforting to be there for her and hold her hand when she took her last breath, my grief and trauma were amplified by lack of preparation for this event. Since my mom’s death, I have been on a mission to learn what it means to prepare for a good death.
I began volunteering in 2015 with Pathways of Northern Colorado as a hospice companion. Each hospice patient I’ve accompanied has contributed to my understanding of death and the dying process in significant ways. I am indebted to each of them for sharing with me one of the most profound experiences of their lives. This gift helps me guide others in discerning what it means to die well and continues to enhance the quality of my days.
I completed Respecting Choices Advance Care Planning Facilitator Certification (all six levels) with the Gunderson Health Care System in February 2017.
My husband, Joe, and I completed our advance directives in January 2017 with a neighborhood writing group that I initiated. In October of that year, Joe was diagnosed with an advance and aggressive form of cancer. (See Teri’s Story for more details.) I acted as Joe’s medical agent (MDPOA) and cared for him at home with the help of our daughter Paula, Pathways Hospice, and our neighborhood community. Joe died at home, 10 weeks after his diagnosis, in accordance with the wishes he articulated in his advance directives.
It is my deepest wish to share what I’ve learned about death and dying – through all these experiences – with you.